This is me in Richmond, California a couple weeks ago, posing with friends. I felt like a World War II propaganda poster come to life!
We joined nearly 1,100 other women at Rosie the Riveter National Park on August 15 to honor our foremother’s work building the ships and planes of World War II and to commemorate 70 years since we defeated the Axis powers.
The National Park Service had put out challenge to beat the world record for number of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter in one place. Despite 90° heat, Rosies of all ages turned out, from toddlers to women in their 90s. We dressed to the nines in our finest industrial kitsch — wearing regulation heavyweight blue coveralls, with Timberland® style work boots and our hair swept up in red bandannas with white polka dots.
The Swinging Blues Stars entertained us with Andrews Sisters’ tunes, and original Rosies, who had worked in the Richmond Shipyard in their 20s, told their stories to all. One energetic Rosie had just retired from factory work in 2014. At 95 years old, she said she would still be working if the factory had not closed. Another said that working in the shipyard made her feel like she could do anything. Her husband did not agree, so she left him!
Looking out at more than 1,000 women in red polka dots, I realized that we weren’t just there to recognize the strength of our mothers and grandmothers. We were there to represent their legacy. It was a truly inspiring site.
The photo to the right is a screen shot from KQED’s video on the event, which really captures the spirit of the day.
To read more about real Rosies and the direct influence they had on the next generation check out the website Rosie’s Daughters. It’s a treasure packed with personal stories and history.